Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Commercial Angst

October 28, 2015

 

Do you ever get the feeling that the universe is screwing with you?

           

Last week I was watching TV and waiting for son CJ to arrive so we could take Mrs. Chatterbox to dinner for her birthday. I was flipping around trying to find something interesting to pass the time and most of the channels showed commercials advertising the same product. I’ve become accustomed to pharmaceutical commercials advertising boner pills, insulin pens and adult diapers, but there’s another plague of advertisements—mattress sales!

           

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t own a mattress, and I find it hard to believe that these advertisements generate enough sales to warrant so many commercials. Here in Portland, Mattress World dukes it out with Bedmart, Sleeptrain, Sleep Country USA and Mattress Warehouse, not to mention sales from mall anchors like Sears, J.C. Penney and Macy’s. We’ve had our mattress for nearly twenty years and it serves us just fine. The mattress in our guest room is equally old. Do mattress companies think people should change mattresses like socks?

           

While waiting for CJ to arrive, I launched into a diatribe about how annoying these mattress sales were. Yes, the on-air women pushing these sales are attractive (interesting that male salespeople are rare in these commercials) but it seems to me that purchasing a mattress is a rare event for most households and not something to peddle like dishwashing soap. And even if I did need a new bed, mattresses are on sale all the time.

           

Years ago when our mattress had more troughs than the North Sea, Mrs. C. and I decided to purchase a new one. We mentioned to CJ that we were interested in one of those adjustable mattresses that facilitate watching TV or reading in bed. He was adamant. “You guys can’t buy a mattress like that! Those are hospital beds for old people. Not gonna let you do it!”

           

CJ doesn’t control what we do, but in the end we purchased a traditional mattress that wasn’t adjustable.

           

So back to the universe screwing with me. CJ finally arrived to celebrate his mother’s birthday, a bit later than expected. I switched off the TV, interrupting another mattress commercial, and I asked what he’d been up to. He said (I swear I’m not pulling your leg) “I was mattress shopping.”

           

“Really?”

           

He nodded. “I found one I really like, and it’s adjustable. You can read in bed and the bottom lifts if your feet hurt. It also has massage control.”

           

“You told me and your mother that we were too young for a mattress like that! You’re half our age. Why aren’t YOU too young for it?”

           

He just shrugged. “The mattress I want is priced at $2,300 dollars.”

           

“That’s a lot of money,” I said. “Where did you find it?”

           

He mentioned the name of the store.

           

“Isn’t that the one with a commercial showing the disheveled blond spokeswoman waking up in bed?”

           

“He smiled. “Yeah. She’s hot!”

           

Hmmnn…. “That sounds like a lot of money. You know she doesn’t come with the bed,” I joked.

           

He grunted. “It’s a lot of money, but you spend a third of your life in bed.”

           

That sounded like a well-rehearsed sales pitch to me. “Maybe you should look around a little more before making a purchase. There must be a sale going on somewhere.”

 

 

 

 This could have been me and Mrs. Chatterbox.

 

 

 

 

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Comments

26 Comments
We slept on wonky mattresses for years until we "invested" in one about 10 years ago. We've been very happy with it. It's funny how CJ changed his thinking about the adjustable mattresses.
By: Rick on October 28, 2015
Let me know what you think about these mattresses....when we moved we got a new mattress- but those adjustable ones looked so huge and cumbersome plus expensive- so we got an ordinary mattress. Cheers and sleep tight!
By: Kathe W. on October 28, 2015
I've often wondered who sees those incessant drug commercials with all the warnings and goes to the doctor and says "I want that one."
By: Bill on October 28, 2015
After a surgery, I couldn't get comfortable lying down flat so we bought a king sized adjustable Sleep Number bed. I'm better now but my husband & I still LOVE it!! I agree with Bill--those drug ad warnings are SCARY.
By: fishducky on October 28, 2015
My Mrs. C and I could never agree on the same adjustment so we use multiple pillows for adjustments. We have a firm king, and when we have to stay somewhere with a smaller or softer bed we always say, "Can't wait to get home to our bed!" Good point about the commercials...who keeps buying all those mattresses?
By: cranky on October 28, 2015
They do recommend replacing your mattress every 5-10 years depending on the model and how expensive it was to begin. We sleep on an old, worn out one that we need to replace but can't. Even the cheap mattresses are not really that cheap.
By: messymimi on October 28, 2015
Unless you purchase a high-end mattress, the lifespan will be less than 10 years. The profit is high... so they keep pushing the product insisting your current mattress NEEDS to be REPLACED.
By: Daniel LaFrance on October 28, 2015
Well, now you know why the women in the commercials and at the stores are hot. You do spend a third of your life in bed. That's why buying the right one is important. And when you do that, it lasts for years...
By: Alex J. Cavanaugh on October 28, 2015
When we got married 25 years ago, Mike's parents gave us a full-size mattress from their guest room - it had a label that said 1956 on it. That sucker was a valley with mountains on either side - which was perfect for newlyweds :) After about 5 years we wanted a little more space so we bought a new one - & that's the one we still use.
By: The Bug on October 28, 2015
I want an adjustable, memory foam, heated, massaging, helps me up in the morning bed!
By: Bouncin Barb on October 28, 2015
Well, I guess in theory it could still be you and Mrs. Chatterbox. Unless you have better things to spend your money on - or you see a regular mattress ad with better blondes.
By: Jenny Woolf on October 28, 2015
Yes, I hate commercials of all kinds. It's one of the reasons I never watch TV. Great story and I'm sure CJ will completely miss the point.
By: red on October 28, 2015
We get a lot of those commercials in California as well. We don't hear much about water beds anymore though. We never went for one of those. I wonder if they are still being sold?
By: Tom Cochrun on October 28, 2015
My best ol' ex-teaching buddy Mabel bought a pillow-top mattress for her mom while she was in the hospital recuperating from a broken hip. It was so much higher than the old mattress that she had to saw over a foot off the bed legs before bringing her mom home.
By: Val on October 28, 2015
I guess you don't want to hear what they say about mattresses and dead skin...nope not gonna tell you! I don't like commercials either, and my least favorite ones are any made after 1980. That's when the advertising industry just threw up their hands and said anything goes! Sex, adult diapers, odors of all kinds. Gosh I just remembered! My least favorite of all time was the one where the lady sang "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan, and never ever let you forget you're a man, cause I'm a woman- ew, ugh. enjoli perfume. I wouldn't buy the perfume because I detested the commercial so much. LOL!
By: Terri on October 28, 2015
To me, commercials for car dealerships tend to be the most annoying. I better be careful what I comment about adjustable beds for old people...the last time I commented here about those walk-in bathtubs for old people, those ads started appearing on my Facebook feed. Heh.
By: Pixel Peeper on October 28, 2015
Does CJ realize the woman does not come with the mattress? Or perhaps for that kinda money, she does.
By: Robyn Engel on October 28, 2015
laughing!! we get inundated with the 'your mattress doubles in weight after 8 years due to dust mites, skin cells, etc.) routine here.
By: TexWisGirl on October 29, 2015
We recently bought a king-sized bed with a state-of-the-art mattress and, I must admit, it is unbelievably comfortable. The only down side is that we have to turn the mattress weekly for the first 18 months!!
By: Bryan Jones on October 29, 2015
The mattress commercials don't faze me, but makeup and lotion commercials drive me insane. The best commercials are the funny ones; whether they intend to be funny or not doesn't matter. I've pretty much given up on TV because I realized I was enjoying the ads more than the shows :)
By: jenny_o on October 29, 2015
Hilarious how things change as our youngsters get older, eh?
By: Catalyst on October 29, 2015
Funny story! We get the mattress commercials here, too. The one that annoys me most though are car commercials--especially on the radio---they're SO LOUD!
By: Marcia @ Menopausal Mother on October 29, 2015
Come to think of it, I do not recall seeing a mattress commercial here for quite some time--including national advertising. As you are now enduring, I remember there being times when there seemed to be at least one for someone every commercial break, but none lately. Did they sell out or run out of advertising money?
By: Jerry E. Beuterbaugh on October 30, 2015
They sound great!
By: John on October 30, 2015
Ha! If you're OLD and get one of those beds, you're simply OLD. If you're young and get one, it's cool. While in NYC all summer, we also commented all the damned mattress commercials. Oddly, they tended to not have hot women, just nerdy, style-less, middle-aged men (the business owners) giving really bad sales pitches.
By: Mitchell is Moving on October 30, 2015
We brought one of those expensive pillow tops and had it a little over nine years and when we moved, decided it wasn't coming--I couldn't believe how bad it was, and we went back to the old mattress that was about 20 years old but only used 10 years and then for guests...
By: Sage on October 30, 2015

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